Published by The Advocacy Committee of the
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Across the Land, Plots are Thickening

LA Times , July 29, 2004


Around tables, where lawyers, doctors and corporate managers gather, there is a growing demand for storytellers and their advice on how to more effectively connect with juries, patients, clients, employees and even each other.

It's further evidence of the power of the craft, and the growing presence of this ancient art form. Throughout Southern California there are festivals and groups where people gather to share stories and to study the art form. As a "creative hub," says Karen Dietz, executive director of the National Storytelling Network, Southern California is one of the most promising and diverse in the country.

Storytellers, from Southern California and from other locations, and their uses of storytelling are described:

  • Joel ben Izzy, a professional storyteller and consultant to businesses and lawyers.
  • Michael D. McCarty, a professional storyteller using storytelling to promote literacy, multicultural understanding, history, sobriety and, always, joy.
  • Ina Buckner, a teacher, actor and television producer, uses storytelling in her classroom as well as in mental health units.
  • Ernest Siva, Ph.D., a Native American elder and tribal historian for the Morongo Band of Mission Indians.
  • Rita Charon, M.D., PH. D., director of the Program in Narrative Medicine at Columbia University.
  • Linda Clarke, narrative medicine artist-in-residence at Medical Humanities Program, Dalhousie Medical School, Halifax, Nova Scotia

Here is a sampling of upcoming storytelling events in Southern California:

Sacred Moon Songs, a performance piece that translates personal stories of dislocation into poetry, dance, music and theater. 7:30 p.m. Friday; 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. David Henry Hwang Theater (East West Players), 120 N. Judge John Aiso St., Los Angeles; $20 general admission; $15 children, students and seniors. (213) 250-8800, Ext. 4.

Los Angeles Storytelling Festival, performances by five tellers and four workshops on the art and business of storytelling. Nov. 6 at the USC Davidson Conference Center. (626) 398-1151.

Once Upon a Story Storytelling Festival, performances by tellers from around the country. Oct. 8 and 9 at Historic Town Center Park in San Juan Capistrano. (949) 768-1916.

In addition, 9 storytelling groups which meet weekly or monthly are listed.

Subjects Covered: business, diversity training, healing, medicine, storytelling festivals

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